Eating wings to raise money sounds like something fun and simple, but it’s an event that one Mid-Missouri organization counts on.
The Wing Ding event is Tuesday evening in Columbia at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. It’s been going on for 26 years to raise money for the United Cerebral Palsy Heartland’s Child Development Center in Columbia.
In the past few years, giving has been down for many organizations including the UCP Center off Nifong.
It’s a place where children from six weeks through 12 years with many different needs, such as Autism, Down Syndrome, or children who are developing typically can go for child care.
It’s shaped many children’s lives and been a relief for many parents.
Tony Schwinke is a regular at the UCP Development Center, dropping by often to check on changes.
“This area does a great job of demonstrating how you can create an area for play for children with disabilities. It’s a very even surface that a wheelchair can roll on.”
The center is near and dear to Schwinke for how it helped his family.
“When our first son Evan was born, he was born early he had some breathing issues and had a tracheotomy until he was 5 years old,” said Schwinke.
After Evan was born, Tony and his wife had planned to get back to work, but spent 6 months looking for a child care center that would take his son and where they could feel comfortable leaving him.
They found the UCP Development Center, a center accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, where all teachers either have a degree in early childhood education or are working toward it.
The Schwinke’s were amazed with the dedicated staff.
“In Evan’s case it was important for the staff to care for his tracheotomy, so we would meet with them every month to sit down and go through some of the care.”
Care like that can add up, but here they like to keep costs down for parents. Tuition is around the same you would pay at other daycares in town.
“It’s really important to get money from outside donations, private sources, as well as these fundraisers that we do so that we can help out with scholarships for families who may not be able to afford it,” said teacher Heather Demand.
Recently, times have been tight and they’ve had to cut back on some programs like Camp Friday, which is a service on Friday nights that allows parents to drop kids off to get errands done or just have a night off.
“Our cars program is one that’s really important. It provides car seats and car beds for children who need specialized car seats and we’ve been having to cut that program as well,” said Demand.
Because the center helped out the Schwinke family, they like to give back.
For more than a decade Tony has helped with the Wing Ding event, where almost every dollar goes to the center.
The Wing Ding event brings in around $15,000 each year.